9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 History and Feminist Theory Building II, C4.01

Feminism Viewed as the Theoretical and Methodological Basis of Gender Contradictions

Feminism still remains a controversial phenomenon both for the Russian society and for the Russian social science. The underlying conditions are rooted in the peculiar features of social and cultural development of our country. The equality between the sexes which was specifically conceptualized and implemented in the Soviet times resulted in women shouldering «double burden». The idea of battle for the «utmost equality» under the conditions of complete equality of rights from a legal perspective is associated in the public conscience mostly with woman's private life frustration and the implied necessity for her self-fulfillment in the "alternative" social activity.
Such an attitude which is natural and fully justified at the level of the public conscience is often revealed in the research sphere where the implicit understanding of the specific position of feminism as the theoretical background for gender studies without which the academic status of the latter discipline cannot but raise doubts has not been gained yet. The above will show that the detailed analysis of feminism viewed as the integral theoretical conception revealing its heuristic value in the context of gender sociology regarded as the middle range theory is absolutely indispensable. The analysis of the basic concepts of gender sociology such as «gender», «gender stereotype», «gender role», «gender attitude», «gender stratification», etc. in the context involved is a must. However, it is well to bear in mind not only these concepts' interpretation in the «purely feminist» discourse (from Simone de Beauvoir to Julia Kristeva, etc.) but also their apprehension by male theorists not infrequently manifesting their masculinity in the understanding of the basic gender concepts - from sociological (A. Giddens) to purely philosophical (M. Foucault).